Fishermen of Men

The Common Men Called by the Lord As we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, it is good to remember that the Lord did not call academics, religious leaders, or important members of the King’s Court, as His Apostles, but rather He called what were essentially the blue collar workers of the time, fishermen. The Lord…

Suffering Depression

Struggling with the demon of dejection Depression is one of the plagues of the modern age, overtaking many with it’s insidious poison, and ravaging many a life. The pain and suffering that comes with deep depression can infect those who surround the sufferer, for the depression of one person can spread like mold on stale bread. Psychiatrists are kept busy…

Struggling with Prayer

Our relationship with God does not require an emotional response When we find ourselves struggling with prayer, and feel that it has become dry and lifeless, we are sometimes tempted to stop praying. When our prayer has become a struggle, it is good to remember that God knows our needs, and even knows what we want to say when we…

Apostolic Doctrine

Just whose recipe is it anyway? One of the most powerful reasons for embracing Orthodoxy is to be found in the Church’s insistence that she holds to the evangelical and apostolic doctrine of the Ancient Church. In an age when everything is up for change, there is a certain security and stability when one institution (the Church) stands firm in…

The Heresy of Penal Substitution

Making God bound by necessity The heretical doctrine of penal substitution was completely absent from the Church for over 1,000 years, and was only introduced by Anselm of Canterbury in the eleventh century. This false teaching of penal substitution was ultimately developed as seen in the West today, by 16th-century Reformers, but is a doctrine that has never been accepted…

The Proof of Love

Faith without works is dead The very moment faith enters the soul is that moment when we turn toward God in repentance and recognize we can not live without Him. As we grow in our faith we come to realize we must remain in a continual state of repentance, for grace abounds in the heart of the man who is…

Sexual Sins

The Christian struggle for purity Sins of a sexual nature are common among many people today. Much of the struggle is directly related to the fact that people do not take advantage of having a spiritual father. If you are your own guide the struggles with sexual passions can be beyond your ability to fight, leading to despair. Our body…

All About My Sins

We should accuse only ourselves We see people’s sins, but we don’t know whether they have made peace with God. We don’t know if the person who has sinned regrets it, but we are not called to judge them, but only to forgive them. As we become aware of our own sins, and begin to realize how much forgiveness and…

Support Your Priest

Honor and love him, and refrain from judging him Parish priests feel pressures that are found in no other profession. The type of man that generally is drawn to the holy priesthood is one who has a heart for serving others, yet priests are often expected to do far more than is humanly possible. Bishops, as fathers to their people,…

Cloud of Witnesses

The saints are alive in Christ Jesus Vigil lights are placed before the icons of the saints, according to Saint Symeon the New Theologian, as a way of showing that without the Light, Who is Christ, the saints are nothing. It is only as the light of Christ shines on them that they become alive and resplendent. The saints show…

The Mother of God

The veneration of the Holy Virgin in the Ancient Church The biblical practice was to refer to all cousins as siblings, and none of the early Christians believed Mary had born any children other than Jesus. This modern protestant idea that she had many children was simply unthinkable to the protestant reformers, including Luther and Calvin, for they all believed Mary to…

Saint John the Wonderworker

Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco Today the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia celebrates the Feast of Saint John the Wonderworker. Saint John’s holy relics reside in the nave of Holy Virgin “Joy of All Who Sorrow” Cathedral in San Francisco. As he is the patron saint of our monastery, I wanted to post the following quotes from our…